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Apr 30th

2015

Stay Smart About Smartphone Privacy

On-Line Transaction - Security ViolationIn 2015 it's safe to assume that anything you do on your smartphone, and any information you store, has the potential of being tracked.

Service providers are not always upfront about the type of data that they are collecting, but we know, at the very least, that they're able to monitor:
  • The numbers you call, the numbers you receive calls from, and the duration of those calls
  • Incoming and outgoing text messages, and picture messages (yet another danger of "sexting"), and the numbers you send and receive those messages from
  • How often you check your email or access the internet
  • Your location

While this information can be extremely valuable in aiding law enforcement officials in the prosecution of dangerous criminals, it can also be useful to dangerous criminals, who have much to gain from hacking your personal information.

If you do any online shopping or banking from your phone, hackers may be able to access your financial data and steal your identity. Signing up for an identity theft protection plan like LifeLock can monitor your identity and alert you of potential dangers.

Even scarier, hackers can collect Geotags, collected from your phone's GPS or photos with location tags, to find out where you are and where you live!

As a smartphone user, your ability to protect this information may be limited, but there are a few things you can do to defend your data:
  1. Look at your service provider's online privacy policy to find out what information it shares, and if you can opt out of sharing.
  2. Be cautious about storing information, such as photos, videos, passwords, financial data and your location in your phone.
  3. Set a strong password on your phone and do not allow your phone to store other passwords.
  4. Research Apps before downloading them. Look at privacy policy, terms of service, and user reviews. Be wary if the app requires personal information that doesn't seem necessary to the functionality of the app.
  5. Use a third-party service, such as MyPrivacy, which can help protect you by requesting removal of your personal information from people-search and database sites that sell it. You can even try it Free for 30 days* and see what information, if any, has been leaked.
  6. Contact your lawmakers and the FTC and share your ideas and opinions on how to ensure that consumers are given more choice when it comes to the privacy of their mobile data.
Just because we're living in the digital age, does not mean our personal information should be up for grabs to hackers and advertisers. Until lawmakers crack down on data privacy laws, let's do our best to stay safe and stay smart about our smartphone usage.

*To avoid being charged the recurring subscription fee, simply cancel before the free-trial period ends.

Source: https://www.privacyrights.org/content/privacy-age-smartphone
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